It was failing its patients. Now a health trust running five hospitals has made significant improvements but it will remain in special measures.
East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust has sites in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Margate. The Trust was rated as inadequate a year ago, the worst posssible assessment. But it could come out of special measures in six months time.
Inspectors say progress has been made although there are still concerns about maternity and A and E. This report by Tom Savvides includes interviews with the Trust's Chief Executive Chris Bown and Alan Thorne from the Care Quality Commission.
The CQC said it is optimistic that the trust will improve.
The CQC has acknowledged that there has been some improvement at the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, but the trust remains in special measures.
“In the past year there have been significant changes to the senior management group at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. The team has worked well together, with external support, to address the issues identified in our inspection last year. However, the improvements identified are recent and continuation of this improvement must be seen as a priority for the team and the trust.
“While the trust continues to make progress, I remain particularly concerned by the deteriorating performance of the emergency department, and the impact this is having on the quality and timeliness of services for patients. We also identified a lack of action to replace the Liverpool Care Pathway for people nearing the end of life despite this being noted in our last inspection.
“I feel optimistic that the trust will continue to improve but it will require continued support for the foreseeable future. Others with a responsibility for health services in the area need to help address the problems the trust cannot deal with on its own. In these circumstances, I am recommending that the trust remains in special measures for a further six months.”
“Inspectors found the hospitals were clean, but the escalation ward at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was not fit for purpose. Here there was a lack of equipment and staffing of the ward was not managed effectively.
“Efforts by the trust to recruit staff were improving although there were still challenges. For example, the use of agency and locum staff was increasing and the process to assess the competency of temporary staff could be improved. It was clear to the inspectors that staff at all levels in the trust felt passionately about their jobs and provided compassionate care. The only inconsistency was the emergency department where inspectors observed decision making and behaviours which were at odds with the rest of the trust.
“Compared to CQC’s last inspection there was positivity about the changes in culture within in the organisation. Action is now being taken to address bullying and incident reporting is now much more transparent and open. However, despite progress there are still pockets of behaviour, disengagement and instability that require attention.”
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have found that a health trust which run five hospitals in Kent has made significant improvements, although it will still remain in special measures.
The CQC said that there are still problems with the East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in its A & E departments. However it could come out of special measures in six months. The Trust manages hospitals in Ashford, Dover, Folkestone, Canterbury and Margate.
The inspectors found that the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, and the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in Canterbury require improvement. While both Buckland Hospital in Dover, and the Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone were rated as Good.
Despite being trashed by vandals and forced to close for more than a week, the St Francis Special School in Fareham re-opened today thanks to the work of staff and volunteers.
Thousands of pounds of damage was caused during the break-in, with windows smashed, roof tiles ripped off, and graffiti on the walls.
It was the fourth time the school, described as a lifeline for many families, has been vandalised in months.
The headteacher says those responsible should return to the school to see the children who were so badly affected. Kerry Swain reports.
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Three-month-old Maxwell Steer was the guest of honour today, at a very special party. He's the ten thousandth baby to be born thanks to the work of Oxford Fertility - a clinic which treats people both privately and on the NHS. The clinic is celebrating its thirtieth birthday. Kate Bunkall went to meet Maxwell and his parents.
Hampshire County Council is marking Alcohol Awareness Week this year (16- 22 November) by encouraging people to check how much alcohol they drink.
Councillor Patricia Stallard, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Health and Public Health, said: "An estimated 24% of Hampshire residents drink above the safe recommended levels for alcohol each week. Many people do not realise how much they are drinking, especially when at home, but by taking some simple steps it is possible to moderate your drinking and benefit from a healthier lifestyle."
Most people who have alcohol-related health problems aren’t alcoholics. They're simply people who regularly drink more than the recommended levels for some years.
There is no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink less than the recommended daily limits, the risks of harming your health are low.
A hospital in the South has had to turn away emergency patients - because they haven't been able to cope with the demand.
Staff at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth had to send them to other hospitals - over three days during the past two weeks. They say "exceptional demand" was to blame.
Elsewhere another hospital - the Andover War Memorial Hospital - has been told it 'Requires Improvement'. While the Royal County Hospital in Winchester and the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital were rated as GOOD. Making them the first Trust in Hampshire to do so.
We are featuring the plight facing a young woman has an acute form of Leukaemia. She's had several rounds of chemotherapy and her only hope of survival is now a bone marrow transplant - but, because she's mixed race, the chances of finding a perfect match are very slim. Stacey Poole talked to Ann O'Leary from Anthony Nolan.
Imagine being told you have cancer and then having to spend every waking moment in an isolated hospital room - until a bone marrow donor can be found.
That's the plight facing one young woman - who has an acute form of leukaemia. She's had several rounds of chemotherapy but her only hope of survival is now a bone marrow transplant but, because she's mixed race, the chances of finding a perfect match are very slim.
Stacey Poole reports.
More details about bone marrow transplants on the Anthony Nolan website